During an encounter with the NYPD, civilians have the right to know the identity of the officer involved, consent to searches, and more. Keep reading for an overview on the rights you are entitled to during different types, or “Levels” of police interactions.
If an officer has an objective credible basis to approach you, the officer may ask for information (e.g., “Where are you going?” “Where are you coming from?” “Where do you live?”) or request your identification. The officer may not restrict your freedom of movement, detain, search or frisk you. You are free to leave. If you are not sure if you are being detained, you may ask, "Am I free to leave?"
If an officer has a founded suspicion of criminal activity happening, the officer may ask accusatory questions (e.g., “Do you have anything on you?” “Are there any weapons in here?” “Did you just buy drugs?”) and may seek consent to search. The officer is not permitted to restrict your freedom of movement. You are free to walk away. If you are not sure if you are being detained, you may ask, "Am I free to leave?"
If an officer has reasonable suspicion that you have committed, are committing, or are about to commit a crime the officer can restrict your freedom of movement, detain, and pursue you. You are not free to leave. If the officer believes you are armed, the officer may frisk you, and potentially search you.